Adapt relationship strategy and planning tools we use in “good times” to create pathways to recovery
In scary times, many organizations instinctively pull up the draw bridges, isolating themselves (not just in a health and sanitation sense) to protect the core at all costs. Companies make demands of others, reduce burn rate to preserve cash, and generally externalize as much of the pain as possible. In the name of “self-preservation,” we unilaterally cancel orders or cease payments to suppliers, stuff distribution channels with product they can’t possibly sell during a downturn, and starve external collaborations of resources and support.
And yet we’ll want to work with these external parties again, after the crisis, for all the good reasons we did previously. Who will help us innovate, take products to market, rebuild critical inventories, engage across a changed customer landscape? If to weather the storm we need to collaborate with partners, new and old, take this opportunity lean into those collaborations and ensure they come through it with us.
Yes, we are stretched thin, our resources constrained; we need to be careful about our investments. Still, we can use the same tools that prioritize and focus collaborations in good times to create effective, mutually reinforcing recovery pathways. Use these tools with a bit of empathy, to understand impacts (and likely reactions) beyond ourselves.
US General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower famously said, “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Three inter-connected analysis tools go into the planning that gets us and our essential ecosystem partners ready for recovery.
- Understand your own value and risk sensitivities.
- Engage in joint recovery planning
Then remember, as things unfold, that how we execute that plan will make the crucial difference. It’s not only with whom we engage, but how, that matters.